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Re: Verbosity of XHTML 2

From: Chris Mannall <chris.mannall@hecubagames.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 09:21:02 +0100
Message-ID: <3D576FEE.2000005@hecubagames.com>
To: www-html@w3.org

Masayasu Ishikawa wrote:
 > Personally I'd like to remove mandatory support for the fixed set
 > of character entities in XHTML 2.

Consider my hand raised as another person who wouldn't be at all 
affected by this. I've only ever used the character entities predefined 
in XML anyway.

Masayasu Ishikawa wrote:
 > It's very dangerous to simply copy and paste them without
 > understanding what those are dealing with.  Namespace prefixes
 > are variables, if you copy some portion of XLinks from other
 > document, it might be using a different prefix and you'd have to
 > redeclare it or change prefixes, and if you redeclare it with a
 > different prefix, unfortunately your document cannot be DTD-valid
 > anymore.  I still have concern if ordinary people can manage this
 > level of complexity.

I don't think this has to be a problem - any difficulties that could 
arise from "ordinary people" not fully understanding the namespace 
mechanisms are easily countered.

The problems you have mentioned so far basically boil down to the 
problems of "incorrect" (i.e. undeclared) prefixes. I think this would 
be unlikely to be an issue; since most "ordinary people" would only be 
copying/pasting from XHTML documents to XHTML documents, the prefixes 
involved would likely be the same anyway, since XHTML2.0 tools aimed at 
the DTD would be *required* to use those prefixes anyway. If you wanted 
to safeguard against the unlikely event that some authoring tool would 
decide to aim solely at the Schema and use different prefixes, you could 
even go so far as to make the DTD-specified prefixes part of the 
specification itself; I see no reason why you couldn't require XHTML2.0 
documents to bind the XLink namespace to a specific prefix, and so on.

Remember that the majority of "ordinary people" are using graphical 
authoring tools, which are likely to involve templates for new files - 
and thus the long list of required namespace declarations would be 
present immediately. In addition, even if the specification doesn't 
actively require specific prefixes, the likelihood is that people only 
use a single tool anyway - and that tool would always be using specific 
prefixes.

My personal opinion is that people will either (a) accept the long list 
of namespace declarations as Something Not To Be Tampered With, always 
use the prefixes that their books/tools/tutors use, and get along just 
fine without *needing* to fully understand namespaces; or (b) either 
already understand or will quickly learn the principles and mechanics of 
namespaces.

I realise I'm speaking as someone "out of the ordinary", in that I 
handcode all my documents, understand namespaces, always use the latest 
(feasible) markup language, etc. - but in my experience, "ordinary 
people" shouldn't be underestimated. It's still easy to operate without 
deep knowledge of namespaces, and the majority of people will never come 
across any issues with them since their authoring tools will take care 
of things for them.


Chris Mannall
Received on Monday, 12 August 2002 04:30:27 GMT

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